Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heads and Shoulders

I'm back, dear readers! Sorry for the long silence.

I've had a lot to think about this month. It is ten years ago that my marriage finally choked on its own vomit and I once again became a single lady. I have now been on my own as long as I was with my husband! And I have to say, as often as I've done things flying solo like curl up watching movies on a rainy Saturday night, taken a vacation, gone stag to weddings and parties, dined in the presence of other couples and awakened in a big bed, I know I am better off and happier now than I ever was. And all the relationships I've been in (you take the good, you take the bad) and friends I've met could never have happened in my old life. Plus I think no longer having to wait forever to use my bathroom sink on a daily basis has kept me young and relatively sane.

It is also ten years ago this month that the magnificent Bruce Lee Cat found me on a cold night on the corner of First Avenue and First Street, aka The Nexus of the Universe! The vets said, "He's fully grown at this size [6 lbs]."

Yeah, right (30 lbs)!

And as willful, sneaky and neurotic as this half-wild Oce-Tiger is, there is nothing like having this purring motor lull me to sleep or lying with his head on my shoulder.

So it's fitting that this month I saw a movie that put a lot of this in retrospect, the beautiful "Certified Copy," directed by Abbas Kiarostami and starring Juliette Binoche and William Shimmel.

To summarize without giving too much away, Binoche (luminescent as ever) portrays a French, single mom of a teenage son and antiques dealer living in Tuscany. Shimmel has written a book about art and antiques copies that intrigues her, and she invites him to visit her shop. They end up spending a day together visiting the village of Lucignano. They are mistakenly identified as a married couple by a woman running a cafe, so, for fun (????) they mutually agree to spend the rest of the day pretending they've been together fifteen years despite the fact they only just met. It is also at this point that language begins to toggle back and forth between English, French and Italian, which I enviously listened to Binoche speak with ease and familiarity of rhythm. (Though I have good comprehension, I can't seem to speak French without sounding like Howdy Doody choking on tennis balls. Maybe it would help if I smoke?)

They all-too-easily begin to mimic the arguments, struggles, misinterpretations and exasperations a couple who has been together this long fall into. It is shockingly realistic.

The part that got me is when they have an argument about a statue in a fountain that is said to depict true love. Something subjective becomes a fundamental problem. To him, the gesture of the woman resting her head on a man's shoulder is only vulgar, romantic mush. To her, it is about trust. The woman in the statue can trust the man to carry the weight of her world on his shoulders. She has someone to rely on. That is true love personified according to the statue's artist.

It made me realize the crux of what was wrong in my marriage and that my husband and I had chosen to be together when in reality, he too misinterpreted what I needed from a good shoulder lean. I'm glad we never got to fifteen years and arguing in Tuscany for real. And relieved my only single mothering is with Bruce.

But someday, in this crazy life I've come to lead, I do hope to finally make it to Tuscany. With someone with really fabulous, strong shoulders.

No comments: